What will the Canucks get in their stockings this year? A top 4 D? A 3rd line C?
Trade Deadline day has lost its punch. Under the new CBA, given the way contracts are escalating, it’s harder and harder to pull of a blockbuster deal on the last day of trading in the NHL season.
The real blockbusters happen on July 1st – the first day of Free Agency. Otherwise known as Christmas in July.
So what will Canucks fans get for Christmas this year?
Mike Gillis has made it clear that he is still shopping for defencemen after having their lack of depth exposed during the playoffs. He has already started that process, bringing in new blood in the form of Keith Ballard. He also gave RFA Shane O’Brien a qualifying offer, indicating a desire to re-sign the young but improving defenceman. He’s also said that he would like to keep Willie Mitchell, provided Mitchell’s concussion symptoms clear up.
So that leaves Kevin Bieksa all but gone from the Canucks. And with Gillis stating that he isn’t done looking for depth on defense, he has all but offered Bieksa to any bidder willing to talk.
The Canucks’ most likely target appears to be BC native Dan Hamhuis, who remains unsigned after having his rights traded twice in a week. His price will be high, a minimum of $4m per year, because of a small and mostly unimpressive UFA class this year.
For a breakdown of what I think Gillis, Vigneault and the Canucks should do with the defense and who they should target in the free agent market, read my article on the Canucks defense.
Up front, the Canucks remain on the hunt for a 3rd line center. Here there are a few options, along with some trade options. I would love to see the Canucks sign Manny Malhotra, a definitive team player who slots in perfectly with Vancouver’s need for a gritty, smart center who can win faceoffs and kill penalties.
For a breakdown of what I think Gillis, Vigneault and the Canucks should do with the forwards and who they should target in the free agent market, read my article on the Canucks forwards.
Will Gillis be able to land Hamhuis and trade away Bieksa? Will he be able to finally land a gritty, all purpose 3rd line C? Will the Canucks be a big swimmer in the UFA pool? Or will they only dip their toe in?
We’ll find out Christmas morning… Er rather July 1st.